Shandera Award nominees readying for sports banquet

POULSBO — Since 1969, the Joe Shandera Award has been the most prestigious honor bestowed on any student athlete at North Kitsap High School. Now, 37 years later 11 candidates are vying for the prize.

POULSBO — Since 1969, the Joe Shandera Award has been the most prestigious honor bestowed on any student athlete at North Kitsap High School.

Now, 37 years later 11 candidates are vying for the prize.

The 2006-07 school year nominees as selected by a panel of NKHS coaches include Josie Ball, KC Fossum, Lindsey Sprague, Joe Benish, Nathan Bilbao, Cody Bradwell, David Dobson, Devin Gottschalk, Eric Hedin, Chris May and Cameron White. Two recipients (one male, one female) of the Joe Shandera award will be announced at the second annual NK athletic boosters all sports award banquet at 6:30 p.m. June 7 at Christ Memorial Church Fellowship Hall in Poulsbo.

NKHS athletic director Trish Olson said the Joe Shandera Award is the highest honor a student athlete at North Kitsap High School can receive.

“The Joe Shandera Award has been given to our top student athletes in our school for almost 40 years. That’s pretty significant,” Olson said. “Students who have received this award are deeply honored. For a student to get nominated, it’s a really big deal and an honor.”

The award was established in memory of NKHS coach Joe Shandera, who died of a heart attack in 1968 at the age of 32.

Shandera coached four sports during his time at NKHS in the 1960s. He was the head football coach, a head and assistant baseball coach, a JV basketball coach and an assistant track and field coach.

North Kitsap assistant football coach Virg Taylor coached side by side with Shandera on the sidelines and in the dugout four decades ago. Taylor has fond memories of coaching with one of his good friends.

“He was an outstanding coach. All of the players really liked him a lot,” Taylor said. “He was a players coach.”

Taylor was thrilled NKHS created an award in honor of Shandera.

“I am glad they created this award in honor of him,” he said. “It helps make sure that he won’t be forgotten. He was a great friend was a good family man.”

The personality qualities the 2006-07 nominees possess, epitomizes the kind of man Joe Shandera was.

NKHS soccer coach Chris May said the reward encompasses more than just an athletes performance on the athletic field.

“The award goes to the quintessential student athlete,” he said. “With more of an emphasis on student. It doesn’t just go to the best athlete. The award usually goes to an individual with great leadership skills who has an ability to juggle a wide range of outside activities including community service. The nominees are a great group of kids.”

Former longtime North Kitsap High School football coach Jerry Parrish said he is impressed with how past Joe Shandera Award winners have moved on to successful lives after leaving NKHS.

“The thing that impresses me is the most is when you look at the names of people who have won the award in the past, they have all gone on to great things after they left high school,” he said. “They have gone on to do very well in the real world so to speak.”

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